Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Tale of Two Templates

As I prepare to record my new album, Fuga Electronica, I have been working out how to transcribe the various fugues for the Synclavier. Since there are basically two types of fugues - those written for chamber groups or orchestra, and those written for one or more guitars - I came up with two different Encore templates that will make the process logical.

With a 32 voice Synclavier, a stereo timbre program takes at least two voices, so that means, in real terms, that I'll be working with a maximum polyphony of 16 voices. However, If I want to get a natural reverberation effect, I'll have to set each track's polyphony to two, meaning that the max polyphony will only be 8 parts. Given that fact, I set up two different templates with 8 staves.

For the chamber ensemble fugues, I'm just going to put everything in a string section system, marked ARCHI here, with three additional tracks of ALTernate timbres possible, above. This will make the three, four, and five voice fugues a snap to transcribe.

Then, for the guitar fugues, I set up a six stave system, as that is the maximum number of simultaneous timbres a guitar can produce. Under that, a stave for a contrabass octave doubling and sound effects. One of the things I got best at with the Synclavier was creating sound effects. Once, I met Al DiMeola, and mentioned to him I programmed some of the sounds that came with the Synclavier. He said, "Not the sound effects?!" And I said yes. His reply was, "Those are amazing!" One of the nicest compliments I ever got. So now, after all these decades, they will finally find their place in my music. I'm psyched.

Once I get the fugues into the Synclavier, I will MIDI synchronize it with my Mac Pro and do additional orchestration with the native samples in Logic Pro X for some of them. That will give me an additional 16 MIDI channels to work with, so I made a third orchestral template for that. I think only three or four of the fugues will lend themselves to this treatment, so most of them will be pure Synclavier.

Here's how the album layout will be:

Fuga Electronica: A Symphony of Fugues

01] Alegro: Four-Voice Sonata-Fugue in E Minor (Orig. Guitar Duo), 2011 - 3:00

02] Lament: Three-Voice Sinfonia in D Minor (Orig. String Trio), 1990 - 3:30

03] Valse Macabre: Three-Voice Fugue on a Tone-Row (Orig. Wind Trio), 1995 - 3:00

04] Andante: Four-Voice Fugue in F Minor (Orig. String Quartet), 1994 - 5:00

05] Jubilate: Four-Voice Ricercare in F Major (Orig. Wind Quartet), 2006 - 6:30

06] Scherzo Comico: Three-Voice Fugato in D Minor (Orig. Chamber Orchestra), 2005 - 1:00

07] Allegretto: Three-Voice Fugue in A Minor (Orig. Solo Guitar), 2005 - 2:00

08] Adagio: Five-Voice Ricercare in A Minor (Orig. Symphony Orchestra), 2013 - 10:00

09] Finale: Free-Voiced Ricercare in E Minor (Orig. Solo Guitar), 2007 - 5:00

Total Time: 39:00

So, three of the fugues originated on the guitar, while the other six were various chamber and orchestral groups. I start the transcriptions tomorrow!

Happy New Year, everybody.